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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Clara 76

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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Anothermomtoo

The families are afraid that they will be cut out of the program and are, therefore, compromising their integrity and their children's well-being for money and air time. They read contracts that said they might be humilated on TV in front of millions of viewers and stilled signed them? I can't imagine being able to sleep at night if I did that.

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Hippy Skippy

I didn't watch the show but noticed her name in this thread, then went and watched the trailer. My daughter has competed against this studio many times. All I can say is that the students my daughter and I know personally (from being at the same competitions year after year) seem genuinely loyal to her.

 

For anyone interested, a contestant from this season's SYTYCD came from this studio.

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cowgrrl

I'm watching this right now via TiVo. Makes me even more glad I found my DDs studio (& this board which showed me what true training is). Her instructors are firm but not mean. And yes, we have a bit of dance mom drama but nowhere near what this show portrays.

And, I totally agree on the costumes & makeup. One thing I love about my DDs studio is that the owner says 'I want them to look like little girls'. Any makeup applied is to bring out their facial features while on stage, not to 'tart them up'. She's also anti-glitter.

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gator_mama

I watched it... I just had too. I had a pretty lousy day and it made me crack up. My DD is the same age as those girls and all I could think was, "why the makeup during class?"

 

... ok, I did think other things like..."this is so fake", "why are the girls dressed so skimpy all the time", and "woo boy, is that Abby Whatsherface is something else", but the makeup on the 9 yr olds... and 6 yr old little sister... was so foreign to me.

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learningdance
One of the things that was interesting in the contract that DD signed for the reality show was the clause that says the producers have the right to edit material together into portrails that migt be considered unflattering or humilating (or some such wording) and you are signing to agree to this.

 

 

These families may have no idea what they were going to end up looking like when the showed aired.

 

I disagree. I saw one of the releases that this show asked people to sign and it has the EXACT wording about embarrassing and humiliating situations (and much worse.)

 

These parents knew exactly what they agreed to. If you can read, every possible scenario is covered in that contract. Those contracts are AIRTIGHT and written by some of the best entertainment lawyers in the industry.

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kylara7

I just saw the trailer for this and read everyone's comments here and I just wanted to throw it out there that the over-the-top cutthroat dance studio culture is one big reason I chose athletics over dance as a child. Even in my rather rural area, there was the Abby-like crazy studio owner, "dance moms", and waaayyyyy too much pink and glitter and makeup for the gangly tomboy I used to be. And if you live in the sticks, that might be literally your only exposure to dance and dance training. I'm loving dance and ballet as a adult though, and I know the cutthroat push-the-kid-till-they-drop mentality is also present in sports, so I chalk it up to the darker side of humanity and the desire to "be on TV!" (which I don't understand personally, but I realize is a very big motivator to some).

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Curandera

For those who believe this is fun because it's all fake, those girls' crying don't look fake to me. And even if it is, it is still wrong to have them act that "reality" out for the sake of a show.

 

Everyone is free to watch what they want. But rationalizing it as okay because it is fake, in my book, is still twisted. I don't care about the coach and the moms. But there are kids involved here and that is not entertaining to me and just wrong.

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Curandera

To kylara7, I understand what you are saying. We live in the boondocks and the overly pink studio is exactly what my dd wants, but basically my son, who may have been interested in dance, refused to go. They briefly had a less pink teacher, but she was let go because she wasn't pink enough for the SO.

 

I do see a lot more studios in the suburbs, if not yet in the boondocks, have male or less pink teachers teaching hip hop. That has opened up the studio to more tom boy girls and non ballet guys. The other nice thing about that is that it then introduced boys to jazz, partnering and maybe even to ballet. I have noticed a lot more guys doing very guy dancing at the "rhinestone" competitions over the years. I have also seen less pink and some very tough and awesome tomboy girl dances too.

 

I also see a similarity to sports. Every parent goes to their kids game hoping the team wins the game and their kid makes the winning shot. But even if they don't, they still enjoy the game and can always find something positive about the experience they help their kids focus on. You do get the nutty parent, but most parents and kids just ignore them.

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learningdance
For those who believe this is fun because it's all fake, those girls' crying don't look fake to me. And even if it is, it is still wrong to have them act that "reality" out for the sake of a show.

 

Everyone is free to watch what they want. But rationalizing it as okay because it is fake, in my book, is still twisted. I don't care about the coach and the moms. But there are kids involved here and that is not entertaining to me and just wrong.

 

 

Agree absolutely. These kids didn't have a choice. They are minors.

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trythis

It occurs to me that this show is shot in Pennsylvania, the same state that is under the gun for child labor laws because of the amount of filming time that the Gosselin children were subjected to for John and Kate plus 8.

 

I did watch the show. The show was shocking and boring. The makeup, costumes, yelling and crying were all shocking. But in general the story lines, the people (characters), the dancing was boring. There was very little dancing shown, other dance schools in the competition were not shown so you never see what they are up against. And the things that the parents said and did seemed to be fake. The fights, the eye rolling about the teacher, the teacher's yelling herself, the sneaking away for a drink....all that seemed to be just done for the cameras.

 

I watch too much reality TV. I don't know why I end up watching it. Probably because I am so busy that a show with a story arc is hard for me to follow and catch every week. But a good reality show makes the ordinary seem interesting if crazy. THis show seems to be trying to pass the crazy off as ordinary, and I just didn't buy it.

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BalletK

DD has always been at a classical ballet school, albiet recreational. So, this concept of a competition school was intriguing to me, to say the least.

 

After watching the show and then going to portions of the website, it seems this competition company is within a studio and is something extra on top of regularly scheduled classes. I'm going to venture and say that these kids were probably doomed from the start considering the mothers they showed. If not dance, then cheerleading or some other sport where they could play their role as competitive helicopter mom (cameras or not). I'm sure it was pumped up for TV but none of the kids seemed to look at their Moms as if they were acting any different than any other day....so at the very least they are all like that in some respect. For me it falls somewhere between Real Housewives and Toddlers in Tiara's (too much make up, too much overdoing it for the cameras).

 

It was just bad acting when they showed the scene where that Abby didn't know her competition. Even if she thinks she is the big cheese in town, she's certainly knows who else is out there! And I agree that the lady brought her daughter over did it just to be on camera. Finally, going to the bar when your (young) kid is getting ready to take the stage, seriously? Didn't the kid who got burned belong to one of the bar moms?

 

I watched 90% of the show with my hands over my mouth after gasping the first time. I'm guessing that was the reaction the producers were looking for.

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sonny72

Well, you folks made me curious. My wife pulled it up online and we watched it. Now I know they make alot of this up to make it good tv, but come on. When I decided to try and learn a little about ballet as I saw how much my son was liking it, I am glad that I didn't have something like out there. I doubt I would have been very supportive. I think that this show will hurt the public perception of dance training. Even though most people know that reality shows are usually not based on reality, for someone with no knowlege to counter what they are seeing, it will give them a distorted view.

 

As an aside. I went to work on a harshly worded e-mail to TLC communicating my disappointment with them and how I remembered the days when "The Learning Channel" was just that, an educational channel, and how little value they provide. I thought it was pretty good, had the wife proof read it. She thought it was pretty good too, but pointed out that "Dance Moms" is on Lifetime. Oops.

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LaFilleSylphide

Well, I don't have the ability to watch this in my city, but I saw the trailer anyway. While it certainly seems atrocious, I agree that this is likely an extreme portrayal of "competition dolly-dinkle" school. I certainly wouldn't judge the ballet world according to Black Swan or even Prisoners of Terpsichore (which was a real documentary, I believe). It breaks my heart that these children are subjected to this kind of treatment and mental (dare I say it?) abuse; but it seems like they're not exactly in control. Sure they want to dance, compete, be with their peers - they may be used to these high pressure activities already, but it's definitely at the discretion of their parents who pay, enroll, and sign NDA's or waivers to allow them these "experiences".

 

One thing that confuses me about competition studios is: where does it all lead to? Athletics are intended to lead to Olympics or professional teams, ballet (which yes, is also full of expensive costumes, classes, competitions, and training) also has the end goal of becoming a professional dancer for a well known company. What does this lead to? I mean.. outside of cheerleading (which is an even shorter and less viable career path than gymnastics and ballet), I'm not sure where it goes. I suppose back-up dancer for music videos?

 

Perhaps I'm biased since a.) I don't have kids, and b.) I am an admin exec for a ballet school; but I tend to look at the costly expenses of attending an out of state SI as an investment or a "higher education" expense. Parents shell out all kinds of money for kids to go to private school and then to go to university and college so that they can receive specialized education towards their future careers and field of work. I don't begrudge any parent for spending the large amounts of money it takes to participate in a "Summer semester" for an SI or to be in a year round program like Kirov or Rock. It's basically specialized higher education. I'm kinda curious about what these families feel like they're investing in when they 'graduate' from the dolly dinkle competition circuits.

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dance1soccer1

The talented ones get college scholarships for dance teams, work in musical theatre or for professional sports teams, on Broadway, on cruise ships, teach, etc., basically what a ballet kid does after college or graduation, and often - yikes - earning more than our ballerinas. It also seems that many of the competition kids who are very good and have the opportunity, transition to a serious ballet school in their teens and do well. Obviously, they have an excellent work ethic, a great deal of practice at memorization and choreography and are used to criticism and competition. My DD's early competition years gave her the ability to learn any combination, the knowledge to be able to "fake it" with confidence and a big smile when she forgets a step on stage, the toughness to withstand any critique and a very can-do attitude. I don't think the competitions or the routines are all bad, it's just some of the teachers and studios (and parents!), like with any other activity.

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Clara 76

Oops! Sorry! Lifetime. I shall change the title!

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